John 13

What was consistent with the dignity of the Lord Jesus Christ is much more consistent with ours, His servants. To sink is the way to rise. To serve in humility is the way to rule. Let us take heed lest Christ’s condescensions to us and advancement of us, through our corrupt nature, cause us to think high thoughts of ourselves, or low thoughts of Him.

1 Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.

2 And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him;

3 Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God;

4 He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.

5 After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.

6 Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet?

7 Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.

8 Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.

9 Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.

10 Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.

11 For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean.

12 So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?

13 Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.

14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.

15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.

16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.

17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.

18 ¶ I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me.

19 Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he.

20 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.

21 When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.

22 Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake.

23 Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.

24 Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake.

25 He then lying on Jesus’ breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it?

26 Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.

27 And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.

28 Now no man at the table knew for what intent he spake this unto him.

29 For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy those things that we have need of against the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor.

30 He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night.

31 ¶ Therefore, when he was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him.

32 If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him.

33 Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you.

34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

36 ¶ Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards.

37 Peter said unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake.

38 Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice.

John 13:1-11 – ​Jesus Glorifies Humble Service

   In the Temple the laver preceded the brazen altar. It was kept filled with pure water for the constant washing of the priests; Exodus 30:18-21; Leviticus 16:4. We cannot have fellowship with Christ at Calvary or on Olivet unless we draw near with our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
   The Synoptic Gospels tell us that on their way to the feast the disciples had yielded to contention and pride. It was needful that these should be put away, and our Lord’s love was equal to the occasion. He loved them to the end of His life and to the end of love. Only such love could have made saints and apostles out of such material.
   Jesus began a work which has never ceased, and which will continue “till all the ransomed Church of God be saved to sin no more.” When we have contracted guilt, we have not to begin our whole life over again, but to go back to the place where we dropped the thread of obedience and begin there. —Through the Bible Day by Day

John 13:12-20 – ​The Master’s Example

   Notwithstanding His great humility, Jesus expects to be regarded as Master and Lord; do we so call and treat Him? We must be as willing to obey Him as a soldier to obey his commanding officers, even when the order conflicts with his comfort, convenience, or safety. We must also do for each other, in our poor measure, what He has done for us, taking on us the form and work of a slave, that we may remove from each other any stain that may have been contracted. It is only when we have stooped to the simplest and lowest humility that we are able to lift our brethren to a purer and nobler life. Let us watch over each other’s souls, as those who must give an account.
   What sorrow must have constantly weighed on our Savior’s heart in knowing that all His love and care would be resisted by Judas, as the rock in a flower garden refuses to respond to the genial influences of spring! To lift up the heel, that is to kick is emblematic of brutal malice. This treachery, foreseen by Christ, was transformed into a support of the disciples’ faith. When the incident took place, as predicted, they knew that Jesus was all that He had declared Himself to be. —Through the Bible Day by Day

John 13:21-30 – ​Kindness to the Traitor

   In the circle of the Twelve, Judas represented the carnal idea of the Messiah, which was directly opposed to the spirit just manifested in the washing of their feet. If he would not humble himself and renounce that spirit, Judas must depart; and a great sense of relief must have been experienced by our Lord, and to an extent by them all.
   The people of the East lay rather than sat at table, each guest having his left arm on a cushion, so as to support the head, the right being at liberty for eating. Thus the head of each was near the breast of his companion on the left. Such was the place of John with regard to the Master at the Last Supper, and it was easy to whisper the inquiry of John 13:25. In the course of the Paschal meal, the father would offer to the guests pieces of bread dipped in a sauce of fruit, representing the fruits of the Promised Land. It was a sign of special attention, and was one more appeal to the conscience of Judas. He might yet have found pardon. But John saw, as his attention was attracted to him, a change pass over his features, which indicated that the traitor had finally cast the wavering balance on the side of Satan. —Through the Bible Day by Day

John 13:31-38 – ​The Sign and Seal of Discipleship

   It was a relief when the traitor was gone. The Lord could now speak freely of His love and of His approaching glory, expatiating on the shining tablelands, but not as yet revealing even to Peter the dark ravine which separated Him from them, and the shadows which He was already entering. Peter was most anxious to be with Jesus wherever He was. Life without Jesus seemed impossible.
   Peter relied upon his strong resolution to keep him faithful to his Master, but found it unavailing, as we have ourselves experienced many a time. Do not vaunt in self-confidence what you will or will not do, but seek strength from the living Lord. How little we know ourselves! Yet the time would come when this ardent spirit would be able to fulfill its vow through the Spirit of Pentecost, John 21:18; II Peter 1:14. —Through the Bible Day by Day

John 13:36-37—Thou canst not follow Me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards.

​   Heaven desired.—We often say it. When the pressure of life seems unbearable; when the door opens just wide enough to admit our dearest, and shuts before we can follow; when we want to see Him whom we love—we find ourselves using Peter’s words again: “Why not now?”
   Heaven delayed.—“Thou canst not follow me now.” The emphasis is on the cannot. It is as though the Master said, “The hindrance is not in some arbitrary edict of Divine power, but in the infinite knowledge and wisdom that cannot err.” Peter was not fit to go. There were lessons of the utmost importance waiting for him to acquire in the near future. He must learn to know himself, and Christ, and the grace of the Holy Spirit. When he proudly vaunted that he would lay down his life for Jesus, he gave incontestable evidence that he did not know himself; and there was every reason to think that he was similarly deceived when he supposed that he was fit to quit earth’s discipline, and enter on heaven’s blessed enjoyment. He must exchange his own strivings and resolvings for the gracious indwelling of the Spirit of Pentecost; he must learn the glorious energy of the indwelling Savior; he must be girded by another, and carried whither he would not; and only then would the time of his putting off of the tabernacle of the body arrive.
   Heaven guaranteed.—“Thou shalt follow me afterwards.” There could be no doubt about it, since Jesus had said it; and often, in after days, these words must have been as a cordial, “Thou shalt follow me afterwards.” But what the Master said to Peter He says to each who believes, Thou shalt follow me afterwards, unto “the fountain of the water of life” (Revelation 21:6). —Our Daily Homily